THEY don’t always like to admit it but there is often a bit of unspoken rivalry between the Germans and the Swiss and, during the 2010 Fifa World Cup starting in South Africa in a mind-boggling 12 days’ time, things are not likely to be any different. We would therefore not be amiss to couple Germany and Switzerland in this weekend’s World Cup Cook-off on The Global Table blog!
However, this week’s cooks – Susanne Peterseil representing Switzerland and Thomas Fuchs representing Germany – know each other well and are not likely to hold themselves up with such silliness as competing in the kitchen!
Thomas is a well known Bay chef who for the past 14 years has run the popular German Club, or Deutscher Klub, in Lorraine. For those who have never experienced authentic German food, don’t miss Thomas’s recipe for Rinder Rouladen – delicious, slow-cooked beef rolls stuffed with bacon, onions and pickles.
But first, let’s try out Susanne’s recipe for a delectable traditional Swiss fruit quiche which in South Africa would be perfect for afternoon tea, but in Switzerland is often served as an evening meal with a glass of milk for the children.
Susanne was born in Switzerland, lived in Winterthur and as a young adult worked in nearby Zurich for South African Airways.
“During my world-wide travels I took a liking to South Africa and its way of life and decided to immigrate,” she recalls. “I came to South Africa in December 1990 and first stayed in Cape Town for about a year. Sometime in 1991 I moved to Port Elizabeth, where I had made contact with Progress Aviation Flying School.”
Susanne completed her private pilots’ licence in 1994 and flew for a couple of years. She then worked for various companies, including Coca-Cola Sabco and loveLife.
“I met my Austrian husband, Werner Peterseil, in Port Elizabeth and we got married in 1997.” Shortly after that she0 assisted him in the opening of the Paxton Hotel, where he is still the general manager.
The Peterseils have two children, 11-year-old Michael and five-year-old Jamie, and while Susanne is a stay-at-home mom now, she is involved in various activities at Summerwood Primary School, where she was instrumental in establishing soccer as a sport in 2009.
“I manage and coach soccer for the children in Grades 2-7, and my U13 team has entered the league this year. They are doing very well and we are proud of them,” she says.
Unfortunately, Susanne will not be in South Africa for the World Cup, as there is a European family visit on the cards for her and the couple’s two children, while Werner will have his hands full at the hotel with the several World Cup teams that will be staying at the Paxton during their matches in the Bay.
Swiss fruit quiche or Waehe – The Recipe
A Waehe is a flat Swiss fruit quiche which was first recorded in 1556, Susanne explains.
“It consists in essence of a dough (usually a cake dough, but often puff pastry is also used) and a filling of fruit, vegetables or even cheese. This is then topped with a mixture of milk-egg-sugar or cream-egg-sugar and baked.”
The Waehe, she says, originated in a house bakery where leftover bread dough was kept and later combined and shaped into a thin base with a rim so that the filling would not leak out. The dough was then layered with whatever fruit or vegetables were available in the house.
“It was first a poor people’s meal but soon found its way into every kitchen. Nowadays it is produced commercially as well as at home, and is sold at most take-away delis.”
In the Catholic parts of Switzerland this fruit quiche was often eaten on a Friday as, just as in many other communities, this is traditionally a meat-free day.
Susanne says that you can either bake the quiche all in one go, for 30 to 40 minutes at 220 degrees as per the recipe below, or else you can separate the cooking stages a bit. She favours putting down the dough, the breadcrumbs, the cinnamon and the apple slices, then popping these into a preheated oven for 10 minutes at 220 degrees. She then takes it out, pours over the cream-egg-Maizena-sugar mixture, then places the waehe back into the oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
1 roll of ready-made puff pastry; 5 tbsp of dried breadcrumbs (unflavoured Kellogg’s crumbs or the dried crumbs sold in supermarket tubs are fine); 1 tsp cinnamon; 5-6 apples (you can also alternate with pears or even plums and other stoned fruit); 250ml cream; 2 large eggs (not extra-large or jumbo); 1 tbsp Maizena; 4 tbsp sugar
Roll the pastry out and press it into a baking tray with a rim of about 3cm on all sides; use a fork to make little holes so the pastry doesn’t puff up when baking. Spread the breadcrumbs evenly over the dough and sprinkle cinnamon on top.
Cut the apples (or other fruit) into thick halfmoon slices and layer them onto the dough; then mix the cream, eggs, Maizena and sugar well and pour over the dough and fruit.
Bake the quiche for 30 to 40 minutes in the lower part of an oven which has been preheated to 220 degrees Celsius. Do not put it in the middle of the oven as it will brown too fast while the dough won’t be cooked through. Also, if you don’t cook it long enough, the custard will be set but the dough will still be a little raw, so do keep an eye on it especially towards the end of the cooking time. Not all ovens are the same, so make a note of the cooking time for yours so next time it’ll be easier to gauge!
The quiche has a beautiful golden brown look on top when it is done. Let it cool out for about 10 minutes before serving.
It can be eaten hot or cold for afternoon tea or dessert, but in Switzerland it is typically served as a light supper, especially for the children, and leftovers are often eaten for breakfast the next morning.
World Cup Cook-off: Germany
Thomas Fuchs came to South Africa in 1984 and was the head chef at the old Hotel Elizabeth (now known as the Garden Court) at Kings Beach in Port Elizabeth until 1992.
He has been the manager of the German Club in Lorraine for the last 14 years.
The German Club is widely known for his annual Oktoberfest – and Thomas’s unique restaurant. They are expecting huge support from the German community and visiting fans during the Fifa World Cup period starting in South Africa on June 11. For more information about the German Club and their programme for the World Cup, visit www.germanclub.co.za.
German Rinder Rouladen or Beef Rolls – The Recipe
Rinder Rouladen (rind means beef) is a traditional meat dish often served as a midday meal on Sundays in some parts of Germany, Thomas explains. His recipe, however, has been slightly adapted for South Africans.
“The meat and gravy are full of rich flavour and the traditional accompaniments of boiled, salted potatoes and rotkohl (red cabbage) create a perfect balance,” he says. While cooked red cabbage is not a staple on the South African plate, you can substitute it with any other vegetable.
Thomas’s recipe, which is a popular choice on the German Club menu in Port Elizabeth, serves four. He considers it “quite easy” to make, although it does take a fair amount of preparation and cooking time (about 30 minutes to prepare and between 1½ and 2 hours to cook).
“The result of cooking the meat for so long is that it is tender and breaks apart with a fork – no knives necessary!”
The beef you will need for this recipe is of a very specific cut. “Ask your butcher for four pieces of the thigh Topside that are 25 to 30cm in length, and 12cm in width – the width should decrease from one end to the other but the small end should not be less than 8 cm.” Each piece should be about ¾cm thick.
“Don’t worry if a piece is longer; shorter; thinner – it will all work out in the end as long as you are in the ballpark with the measurements!
4 pieces of beef as per the specifications above; 8 slices of smoked, thick bacon; 2 medium-sized onions; ¼ cup of (strong) Dijon mustard; 6 to 8 sweet and sour pickles (each about 8cm long); freshly-ground sea salt and black pepper to taste; 3 tbsp of oil for frying; 8 short metal skewers or toothpicks for securing; gravy powder; flour for coating
First cut the onion into strips – Thomas cuts it from end to end and not across the rings. The widest point of the onion pieces should be ¾cm or so. Break apart the onion slices.
Now cut the pickles length-wise into 6 or 8 slices. The pickle pieces should be no more than ½cm thick.
Next, rinse and pat dry the beef. Lay out the four pieces on a flat surface and use the palm of your hand to flatten the beef a bit. Season each piece with salt and pepper to taste. Then coat each piece with a generous helping of Dijon mustard from end to end. Lay two pieces of bacon on each, trying not to overlap the bacon where possible. Finally, alternate the onion and pickle slices, laying them about a centimetre apart down the length of the pieces of beef. Try to get good coverage across the width and length of the meat. You may want to leave off the onion and pickles on the last 5 cm at the small end of the pieces of meat.
Now the fun part: Gently roll each piece of beef, from the wide end towards the narrow end. Secure with short skewers or toothpicks.
Next, the gravy. In Germany, Thomas says, you can buy a packet of rouladen gravy mix and just add water. However, when this short-cut is not available, any normal packet gravy will do – just mix it according to the instructions. Pour the gravy mixture into a deep, oven-proof roasting pan or casserole dish. Season the beef rolls as needed and lightly coat them in flour. Then brown them in a hot frying pan, being careful not to “cook” the beef rolls. Place the rouladen in the roasting pan on top of the gravy mixture. Thomas likes lots of sauce, so add liquid to cover the rolls if you like.
Cover and bake for about 1¾ hours at 200°C or 375°F. You can check it occasionally but it doesn’t really need much TLC.
Optional for the gravy: When the beef is cooked, take it out of the roasting pan. Strain the gravy and thicken if desired, and add more spices to taste.